asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied with the progress that is being maintained by the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad, to which only a passing allusion has been made in Sir Frank Stockdale's Report on the Development and Welfare of the West Indies; whether contact is being maintained with the Dominions and other parts of the Colonial Empire; the number of students in residence and extra-mural; and whether further development of the research and experimental work of the college is contemplated?
I am satisfied with the progress that is being maintained by the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, in spite of the difficulties created by the war. Contact has been maintained between the College, the Colonial Dependencies, and the Colonial Office in respect of research work and of the training of scholars for the Colonial argicultural service. The number of students at the College was 72 at the end of 1941; at the end of last year the number was 39, with 11 more expected shortly. The reduction in numbers last year is due largely to war-time difficulties of communications and to the entry into the Armed Forces of young men who would under normal circumstances have become students at the College. The extension of agricultural research at the College as recommended by the West India Royal Commission has recently formed the subject of discussions between Sir Frank Stockdale, the Principal and the Governing Body of the College; it is expected that proposals for assistance under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act to implement and finance those developments in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission will shortly be received.
In view of the very valuable work being done by this College not only for the West Indies but for the whole of our tropical Empire, will the Colonial Office consider its interests on all appropriate occasions?
Yes, Sir, I am expecting to receive recommendations and I shall certainly consider them with every sympathy.
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman inform the House whether the students of this agricultural college are drawn from the whole of the West Indies or merely from Trinidad?
From the whole of the West Indies.
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the advisability of offering scholarships to native-born students?
That is a very interesting suggestion, and I have no doubt that it is one which will have been discussed and probably will form part of the recommendations.